Japan has some of the best customer service in the world. We recently ran a story about a convenience store worker who packed our writer’s purchase so that the cold and hot drinks wouldn’t touch. This is just one of the many examples of the attention to detail that is given by workers in Japan. Sure, sometimes you land up having to wait five minutes at the department store while the clerk wraps every individual item (and the line of people behind you slowly creeps past the front doors), but this level of service is nothing short of amazing.
On my most recent visit to Baskin Robbins (it’s simply known as “31 Ice Cream” in Japan), I was shocked by the level of service I received after ordering a single cup of ice cream to-go. Most astonishing was the small block of dry ice that was placed on top of the ice cream to prevent it from melting on the way home.
While we were on a trip a few weeks ago, my husband and I ordered two scoops of ice cream in one cup at Baskin Robbins. We ordered the ice cream to-go so we could take it back to our hotel room to enjoy while lounging in bed and playing Battleship on our iPad (hey, I could have lied and said we had sexy ice cream time, but I chose to tell the truth). After telling the cashier that we would like the ice cream to be packed to-go, she politely asked if we would be getting home within 30 minutes. She wanted to know how much dry ice to add to the to-go bag.
Yes, at Baskin Robbins in Japan, you receive dry ice with your to-go ice cream purchases. What’s even cooler is that as long as you only need it to last for 30 minutes, the dry ice is free! You can even purchase more dry ice for a few hundred yen (a few US dollars) if you need it.
▼ The neatly packed bag with one cup of ice cream inside.
▼ Inside the plastic bag was a paper bag. Two bags for one cup of ice cream…
▼ The paper bag was taped on both sides and included instructions about dry ice and a stamp with information about the Baskin Robbins we bought the ice cream at.
▼ Open the paper bag (after struggling to get past the taped sides) and there it is, a block of dry ice just plunked on top of the ice cream cup.
▼ Removed the ice cream and dry ice from the bags, being careful to not touch the dry ice. You know, because dry ice burns your skin.
▼ I thought they forgot to give us a spoon. Turns out it was nicely wrapped in plastic along with a napkin and a flavor guide.
▼ A few nuggets of dry ice left on the bottom of the bag.
It’s interesting that even though we ordered the ice cream in the dead of winter when the temperature outside was below freezing, we still received dry ice to ensure the safe transport of our ice cream. I imagine that this service is a life-saver (ice cream saver?) during the summer months, eliminating the urge to chaotically speed down the road, weaving in and out of traffic, trying to get your freshly purchased ice cream cake home to the sanctuary of the freezer.
Remembering the dry ice that my dad would use to give our yard a creepy vibe during Halloween, I decided to fill up the hotel sink with water and let the dry ice take a dip. As expected, smoke came pouring out of the sink. It was awesome.
Receiving dry ice with our to-go ice cream was the coolest (no pun intended) form of customer service I’ve ever encountered while living in Japan. I just wish the ice cream didn’t melt so much while we were playing with the dry ice…
Michelle is originally from California, but currently living in the tiny fishing village of Chibu, one of the Oki islands in Japan. Being one of two foreigners living in an island village of a little over 600 people presents many adventures. Come back every weekend for a new article featuring the interesting and bizarre things she comes across in her life in rural Japan. Once a week not enough? Check out her blog, You, Me, And A Tanuki, for photographs and even more articles.
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